Monday, October 21, 2019

CHILDREN love fairies, but apparently some older people with vandalising tendencies don’t like them, and a number of the beautiful hand-painted signs in Kilcullen’s Valley Park Fairy Trail have gone missing.

The trail was established last May and has become a local favourite place for families with young children, resulting in a significantly higher footfall in the park which was bought as waste land for the community in the late 1970s and has since been developed as a beautiful landscaped area on the riverbank. For some 25 years the maintenance has been carried out by Kilcullen Community Action, and at last week’s meeting they agreed that a number of new fairy ‘houses’ will be added to the trail.

Notwithstanding the intermittent minor vandalism, there’s a sense that the increased family use of the park has also resulted in diminishing instances of general anti-social behaviour in the area. “It has become a huge source of enjoyment for children,” KCA chair Ann Cashman noted.

Last week’s meeting agreed that a more secure method needs to be used for the fairy signs, possibly by setting them in concrete. A bright red postbox is also to be installed in coming weeks where children can post letters to Santa, and the meeting heard from ‘Fairy Trail Godmother’ Antoinette Buckley that letters with return addresses will be answered by Santa. Antoinette was the prime mover behind the establishment of the Fairy Trail, and responsible for the artwork on the trail signs.

The annual Kilcullen Christmas lights will be extended into the valley this year, so the fairies and their friends will have longer time to spend together in the short-days time of the year.

The KCA members also discussed the upcoming Community and Tidy Towns Awards Night, which is scheduled for 7 November. The winners of the annual Tidy Towns trophies have been agreed, and the Community Awards trophies have been designed and made as usual by local craftsman Joe O’Connor. Ray Kelly confirmed that all councillors of the Kildare Newbridge MD have been invited to the evening.

Wildflower seeds are being bought to increase the biodiversity of several areas in Kilcullen, with approach roads from the south going to get particular attention this year. Paul Leighton, responsible for the provision of the two community beehives earlier this year, said a meeting was being arranged for 13 November to get the town’s residential estates involved in planting pollinator-friendly flowers and shrubs. The meeting will be held in the Kilcullen offices of Kildare Credit Union.

There was some discussion on planning issues, notably the recent application for a phase 2 of the Riverside Manor estate, to which KCA had made a submission posing a number of queries. The Kilsaran application for Ballyshannon was also briefly discussed and it was decided not to take any view on it until further information was available from a public meeting organised for tonight, Tuesday 22 October.

In a continuing discussion on planning generally, Noel Clare suggested that KCA should perhaps develop its own transparent guidelines on planning policy in Kilcullen, instead of continually having to react to individual applications at short notice. Ann Cashman suggested that any such guidelines should be framed in the local area plan for Kilcullen, which would be revisited next year. This was agreed.

The meeting also heard that the proceeds of the annual New Year’s Eve Ball in Fallons this year would be given to the Tidy Towns.

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